OPERATION MINCEMEAT – Review by Martha K Baker

Ian Fleming — yes, that Ian Fleming — narrates Operation Mincemeat: “In any story,” he writes, “there is that which is seen and that which is hidden.” Such is the case with Operation Mincemeat and the fascinating — and flawed — film based on the true event. The time is July 1943 during World War II. The place is England; the target is Sicily.

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A VERY BRITISH SCANDAL – Review by Susan Granger

Based on a true story, A Very British Scandal delves into the notorious sex scandal that riveted Britain in 1963. It revolves around arrogant, ambitious Margaret Whigham, born in Scotland to a self-made Scottish textiles millionaire who moved the family to New York when she was 14. After several highly publicized romances during her London debutante season and a disastrous first marriage that ended in divorce, scheming socialite Margaret (Claire Foy) married Ian Campbell (Paul Bettany), Duke of Argyll, in 1951. Already unhappy in his second marriage, dissolute Ian was intrigued not only by Margaret’s beauty but also by her generous dowry.

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THE DUKE – Review by Diane Carson

The Duke amuses with a real-life theft from the British National Gallery. In the list of real life contributing a tale more fantastic than invented ones, Kempton Bunton’s sits high up there. This sixty-year-old, cantankerous, occasional taxi driver in 1960s Newcastle (northeast England) repeatedly and, it must be noted, conscientiously protested discriminatory and, in his estimation, inequitable practices. And then his piece de resistance occurred.

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SHADOW LINES – Review by Diane Carson

Based on historical records, Shadow Lines dramatizes a complicated, multilayered series of events in 1956, as Urho Kaleva Kekkonen becomes Finland’s President. A flash point for the Cold War, Finland must struggle and surreptitiously fight to maintain its neutrality as Russia infringes on its fragile, threatened independence. With more overtones than feel comfortable right now, the 18 episode series echoes across the decades with contemporary geopolitical issues.

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MINIMATA – Review by Susan Granger

It’s hard to imagine a Johnny Depp film being ignored but that’s what happened after Minamata premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival back in 2020, when Covid shuttered most theaters. Depp plays renowned W.W.II photojournalist W. Eugene ‘Gene’ Smith, who, by 1971, had become a jaded recluse: broke, wasted, estranged from his children, and suffering from PTSD.

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SOUMAYA – Review by Lois Alter Mark

Soumaya is based on actual events that occurred after the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, and the fact that it had to overcome so many obstacles in order to get made shows how crucial it is that it finally did — and that it be seen. The story centers on a woman who is fired from her airport security job solely because she’s Muslim. Soumaya is a compelling, thought-provoking film that will stay with you.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 5, 2021: HIVE

Perseverance in the face of uncertainty and repression is at the heart of writer/director Blerta Basholli’s feature debut, Hive, which illustrates the devastating real-life impact of the Kosovo War through the story of a determined woman named Fahrije (Yllka Gashi). Left in the painful limbo of not knowing whether her long-missing husband is dead or alive, Fahrije must defy norms and expectations to protect her family, proving herself a true heroine in the process.

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HIVE – Review by Loren King

No wonder that this assured and haunting debut from writer/director Blerta Basholli, an award winner at Sundance, is Kosovo’s official entry for the Oscars’ international feature category. Hive is Kosovo’s eighth Oscar entry but the country has yet to secure a nomination. This powerful, important film is more than deserving. Albanian actress Yllka Gashi portrays the real life figure of Fahrije Hoti who struggles to keep her family afloat after the disappearance of her husband along with all the men in her village after a massacre during the 1990s war in Kosovo.

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